Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Feburary '22 Progress Report


Not sure if I want to just write about my projects or if I also want to delve into some libertarian thought as well... Recent events have me re-thinking certain things and re-prioritizing projects.

February has been a pretty dismal month for me in terms of progress and personal productivity. I haven't been very prolific in my writing at all. I have, however, analyzed why I think that may be in my personal/private journal. Which, I imagine will eventually make it's way on to published or printed page in some form or fashion. Really, this post here is going to take some of what I've already written and refine it a little bit. I may have already talked about this before, but I feel like when I talk about things that I'm working on, they lose power, or I somehow give up some of the enthusiasm I had for the project. As if talking about them dispels some of the magical creative energy that was pushing me forward.

This evening's post will be brought to you by a new band that I just discovered this morning while surfing around on BandCamp on my way into work. They're called Kryptograf and the album is entitled The Eldorado Spell.

My wife and I did get a hike in at the end of the month at least. Before too long it will be too hot to hike anywhere around here--we might be able to get away with a short hike once in a while if we go really early in the morning--otherwise though, we'll have to retreat to Mount Charleston or take a weekend trip up to St. George or something. Maybe even find some new locations here in Nevada up further north. We didn't know about Ash Meadows until recently and we're planning on checking that out this coming weekend. Ash Meadows is a National Wildlife refuge about 2 hours north of Vegas. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll save my thoughts and reservations for after we've been out there and I actually have something to talk about.


I have made some progress on these. Progress has just been slow. I have not hit my word goals that I outlined in the last progress report and I'm starting to wonder if I need to push the deadlines I set for myself. Right now, though,  I am not going to. I feel that I tend to work better under a little bit of pressure. The nature of my professional work the past decade has sort of guided me into that type of a working pattern. No one would purposefully choose it, but I am able to remain level-headed and it helps me focus. Initially I thought that analyzing and eliminating the source of my procrastination might be what I needed to do, but now I think it might be that I need to figure out what about the time-crunch element causes me to be productive. There's something about stress (artificial or imposed) that lends itself to forcing focus on a task, and being able to complete the task. Generally speaking though, stress comes from an outside source. I'm not sure I know how to generate that within myself to produce the results that I'm looking for.

I'll definitely have more concerning these by the end of March. But my goal might be to take the time to analyze the emotions that I personally go through when under stress that produce the focus I'm looking for. Further, to find a way to extrapolate that.


Siddhartha has been gathering dust this month. Instead of working on editing that a lot of the time I would have devoted to it was devoted to thinking about computer projects... I say thinking, but mostly daydreaming. It's still spending time learning about different hardware and reading up on software and configurations, which is something that I do enjoy spending my time on, but it was time that I could have spent actually working to produce something.

Speaking of computer projects though, I figured I would spend some time talking about what it is that has me so preoccupied.  


Recently I've been digging a lot into single-board computers and emulation. Pretty much since the beginning of the year, and since buying the ODROID Go Advance, I've found myself more interested in playing older emulated games than trying to keep up on all the latest games that are coming out. But I often times spend just as much time tinkering with settings and configurations as I do actually playing the games. Really though, there are so many games that I missed from back in the day that I would really like to play now. Not to mention a good portion of the people I follow on Twitter are part of the retro gaming scene.

Raspberry Pi's are sort of the defacto, and have been for several years now, but like with most things that are super popular, I've sort of dismissed them because I didn't get in on the ground floor. My mild curiosity about them has sort of soured into a hipster antipathy. But, that's sort of where HardKernel and the ODROID products come in. I wouldn't have found them if I hadn't been looking for alternatives to Raspberry Pi. I'm glad I did too, because they have a superior product with the ODROID N2+. Granted, some of my searching was due to the fact that there is also a shortage of RPi boards, however I'm not complaining.

I think within the next 6 months I'll have an N2+ and will use it to resurrect the CRT TV that is sitting in our garage. I've had that TV since I was in elementary school at least. It was the TV that I played all my SNES and PlayStation games on, so it seems fitting to use to play all of the SNES and PlayStation games I didn't get to play, and to continue to play those games on that TV. It's been across country and stationed in 4 states: NY, IA, CA and NV. There's a segment of the scene that likes to try and get the games to look as amazing as possible, and I was definitely one of those people--up-scaling PS2 games to 1080p with anisotropic filtering and all of that jazz. One thing I've realized though is that there's an element to real scanlines and lower resolutions that really makes those older games shine and feed more into nostalgia than all of the psuedo remastering work that hobbyists are doing with mods and configuration settings.

Additionally I do want to do a Raspberry Pi project, but just not one that is centered around emulation. 

The hike that my wife and I went on this past weekend was one that was jointly sponsored by The Friends of Nevada Wilderness and The Redrock Audubon Society. So not only was there proper bird-watching (or, "birding") guidance, but there was also a desert water component to the hike as well. The Friends of NV Wild do surveys of natural springs, and part of their surveys are measuring pH, EC, PPM and the flow of the water, etc. All of which can be done with senors that you can buy for a Raspberry Pi. So, also within the next 6 months, I plan on buying all the components necessary to build a Pi that we can travel with that will do all that stuff and dump the results to a database. Currently the Friends of NV Wild do it all by hand on paper sheets and relatively older technology.

Obviously, I would never impose, but I think it would be interesting to explore the possibilities on my own terms, and if the results are beneficial, sharing that with them what I did to build the system. Unfortunately the water probes that they use are only like $150, and by the time I'm done with the Pi and all the necessary components, it will be probably closer to $500... However, I want to have a GPS module and such installed, so, if you factor in the Garmin along with a Hanna Water probe, the overall cost for each system is going to be somewhat comparable. I think there's definitely a need for something like this as well because all I can find are projects centered around gardening. The My HydroPi project that Dominic started to automate taking care of his pool is probably the closest I can find a project that would have an application similar to this one, which I find kind of exciting.


No one chimed in. I didn't get any feedback on the types of blog posts I should be working on.

That's okay though. Some of the ideas for blog posts that I I have an idea for what I'm going to write about next: Ecotourism and privatizing government land. Which, I'm sure seems like a radical notion. But I'm not convinced that the federal and state governments really do such a good job at preservation. Also, many of the land leases available are exclusively for grazing, or other activities that are tied into farming or cattle ranching. The federal government (to the best of my knowledge, and based on the last time I read up on the matter) does not lease land to private conservation organizations, even though it might be the most profitable avenue for the government or the state to take. Ironically enough, the cattle ranchers and farmers get some of the highest government subsidies for their chosen profession, so it's almost like double-dipping. Not only do they get tax money allocated to them to carry out their business, but then they are the only ones that get to bid (my assumption would be that they're using those same tax dollars) on land for use that might not be in the community's best interest.

This is something that definitely interests me given the fact that the federal government owns something like 75-80% of all the land in Nevada, the last statistic I saw was 81%, so it could be higher now.

A better way to describe what I'm talking about might even be free market environmentalism. I'm sure that to some that sounds like a strange oxymoron, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Especially considering we're constantly in a battle to conserve and protect. Why do we leave it up to the government? It seems to me that private interests would be much more effective at protecting the environments they are invested in. Just because someone is a capitalist does not mean that they are diametrically opposed to nature, or only have a vested interest in destroying nature, but that's what we've been taught through movies and media; Fern Gully and Captain Planet come to mind. In fact, I would argue that a lot of conservative sentiment is actually birthed from a love of nature and wilderness. Hunters are some of the most astute naturalists when it comes to understanding population control and ecological balance.

In any regard. I'll try to save all those thoughts for a more cohesive piece that is directed more at policy and less on ranting. See you all soon!

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